The importance of human innovation in A.I. ethics

John C. Havens at Mashable: “….While welcoming the feedback that sensors, data and Artificial Intelligence provide, we’re at a critical inflection point. Demarcating the parameters between assistance and automation has never been more central to human well-being. But today, beauty is in the AI of the beholder. Desensitized to the value of personal data, we hemorrhage precious insights regarding our identity that define the moral nuances necessary to navigate algorithmic modernity.

If no values-based standards exist for Artificial Intelligence, then the biases of its manufacturers will define our universal code of human ethics. But this should not be their cross to bear alone. It’s time to stop vilifying the AI community and start defining in concert with their creations what the good life means surrounding our consciousness and code.

The intention of the ethics

“Begin as you mean to go forward.” Michael Stewart is founder, chairman & CEO of Lucid, an Artificial Intelligence company based in Austin that recently announced the formation of the industry’s first Ethics Advisory Panel (EAP). While Google claimed creation of a similar board when acquiring AI firm DeepMind in January 2014, no public realization of its efforts currently exist (as confirmed by a PR rep from Google for this piece). Lucid’s Panel, by comparison, has already begun functioning as a separate organization from the analytics side of the business and provides oversight for the company and its customers. “Our efforts,” Stewart says, “are guided by the principle that our ethics group is obsessed with making sure the impact of our technology is good.”

Kay Firth-Butterfield is chief officer of the EAP, and is charged with being on the vanguard of the ethical issues affecting the AI industry and society as a whole. Internally, the EAP provides the hub of ethical behavior for the company. Someone from Firth-Butterfield’s office even sits on all core product development teams. “Externally,” she notes, “we plan to apply Cyc intelligence (shorthand for ‘encyclopedia,’ Lucid’s AI causal reasoning platform) for research to demonstrate the benefits of AI and to advise Lucid’s leadership on key decisions, such as the recent signing of the LAWS letter and the end use of customer applications.”

Ensuring the impact of AI technology is positive doesn’t happen by default. But as Lucid is demonstrating, ethics doesn’t have to stymie innovation by dwelling solely in the realm of risk mitigation. Ethical processes aligning with a company’s core values can provide more deeply relevant products and increased public trust. Transparently including your customer’s values in these processes puts the person back into personalization….(Mashable)”